Lisbon welcomes UEFA decision to bring Champions League to Portugal


SHOWS: LISBON, PORTUGAL (JUNE 17, 2020) (REUTERS ACCESS-ALL)

1. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF BENFICA'S ESTADIO DA LUZ

2. VARIOUS OF EAGLE STATUE AT LUZ STADIUM

3. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SOCCER FAN, LUIS MARTINS, SAYING:

"I think it is great. It shows, once again, that Portugal is one of the best countries in the world for hosting sporting events. We have already done several. This one will also be a success. We have great conditions. I just hope that people in Lisbon respect the rules of confinement and (social) distancing so at the time of the Champions League, at least some people can come to the stadiums because this space is wonderful with people. And it's great for the Portuguese economy too."

4. SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SOCCER FAN, CLAUDIA MARTINS, SAYING:

"If I could I would already be inside the stadium. But I can't. They won't let me. But I think it would be very good (to have fans). And I think it is possible. If we can go to concerts, why can't we go to a football match? With a capacity of 60,000 (fans), if they don't allow 60,000, then 20,000 or 30,000. That'd be good."

5. SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SOCCER FAN, PAULO MARTINS, SAYING:

"With a reduced capacity, with space, with masks, with some security but yes - if not 60,000 then 40,000 or 30,000. I don't know but, with different standards. Entrances via one place, exits at another. There's a lot of room here. It is more complicated at smaller stadiums, but this is an open space. With some rules, I don't see why not."

6. SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SOCCER FAN, PAULO LOPES, SAYING:

"If they decide that supporters can attend, then it should be a well thought out thing. It might be better for them not to go for everyone's safety and so there are no injustices in relation to the supporters who can or cannot enter. I think it is better not to have any supporters in the stadium at this stage."

7. VARIOUS OF EUSEBIO STATUE AT LUZ STADIUM

8. LUZ STADIUM

STORY: Lisbon soccer lovers were over the moon on Wednesday (June 17) after the city was announced as the host of a summer knockout Champions League event, with some hoping the major sporting tournament will help revive the country's coronavirus-damaged economy.

This season's Champions League was suspended in March because of the pandemic, leaving fans and players in limbo.

But European soccer's governing body UEFA finally confirmed on Wednesday the season will be completed in the Portuguese capital in August with an eight-team mini-tournament.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he expected matches to be played without fans, although there was a small chance that could change.

Portugal, which has so far reported a total of 37,672 cases and 1,523 deaths from the coronavirus, much lower than neighbouring Spain, began lifting its lockdown on May 4.

The country has been hailed as a success story in its fight against the virus, but localised outbreaks in and around Lisbon have kept cases at a worrying plateau in their hundreds per day for the past month.

As fears of a second wave of infections emerge, some soccer fans said they would rather the matches to be played behind closed doors.